For men seeking inexpensive, stylish threads, textile factory outlets and custom clothiers in Trenčín, the seat of Slovakia's garment industry, offer high-quality men's apparel for a fraction of the price at most off-the-rack Slovak boutiques.
"Panský Salon Kubička," a small men's clothier in Trenčín, will tailor a suit from any fabric in two weeks for 3,100 Sk-3,600 Sk, said Vladimír Ondrovíč, the firm's sales director.
Founded seven years ago by Peter Kubička, a former fashion-designer at the Slovak textile company Ozeta, Salon Kubička produces to order and sells most of its creations on the spot; however, Ondrovíč said that some of the company's products make their way onto shelves at pricy franchised stores like Zoe, in Bratislava.
Ondrovíč said the firm "works with banks, hotels, and other institutions," and has custom-fit Slovak President Michal Kováč, as well as members of the U.S. Embassy.
Salon Kubička uses "mainly materials of domestic natural origin," said Ondrovíč, in addition to fabric "brought to us by our customers." The Trenčín-based company Herina supplies Salon Kubička with the bulk of its fabric. A pair of men's trousers at Salon Kubička costs 700 Sk, a vest 650 Sk, a tie 200 Sk, and a jacket 2,300 Sk. Ondrovíč said customers have to visit the shop at Trenčín's Legionarská ul. 5 to have their measurements taken, and may then return in two weeks to pick up their orders.
Fit for quality
Tim Stephens, the deputy treasurer of Tatra Bank in Bratislava, said he personally waited "about a month" for a suit from Ozeta's factory outlet store in Trencin, but said "it could go quicker." The quality of fabric, according to Stephens, was "okay; not as full or rich as Brooks Brothers, but the workmanship was very, very good." Stephens said the factory had a "full range of suits configured abroad" at slightly higher prices.
At the Ozeta factory outlet in Trenčín a custom tailored men's suit costs 4,000 Sk; a jacket 2,500 Sk; trousers 1,000 Sk; and a vest 600 Sk.
With a dozen retail shops in Slovakia including Bratislava, Banská Bystrica, and of course Trenčín, Ozeta this year stepped up its domestic sales activity, while exporting 70 percent of its creations to western Europe and the U.S.
Ozeta buys materials from several domestic and foreign suppliers, said Roman Múčka, the firm's sales director, including Slovak textile companies Merina, Slovenka, Sukno, and Humpolec. Foreign partners include the French clothier Roudiere, Fianderia, in Portugal, and Hämmerville in Vienna.
Tatra Banka's Stephens, whose firm is one of Ozeta's main clients, said Ozeta "used to make suits for companies like Hugo Boss for a [sales] commission. They exported something like 99 percent of their products, mainly to western Europe," but said Ozeta has since "run into heavy competition from southern Europe and Asia."
Though the company has begun selling more in Slovakia, Ozeta's domestic sales fell last year when Ozeta was de-listed from the Bratislava Stock Exchange Index.
Kubička can do business in a market dominated by large clothing importers and wholesalers because it already has a regular clientele. "Kubička survives easier [than Ozeta] because his daily production is smaller than ours. Also, he does his work according to demand," said Múčka.
Ondrovíč agreed that Kubička's self-contained production and retail operations is one reason for the firm's modest success, he also noted that in Trenčín, the firm does not have to pay a high rent on retail space.
13. Mar 1997 at 0:00 | Tom Reynolds